State of Tuition Free Universities in Europe for International Students

Though countries like Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark etc offered tuition free universities for international students in the past, the question is, “What is the current status of tuition free universities for international students?” “Are there still higher institutions out there offering free education for international students from developing countries?” Lets answer this question here.

Sweden

Sweden used to be one of the few countries in Europe that do not charge fees for both domestic and international students. All students-regardless of nationality-have been funded by Swedish taxpayers. However since 2011, the Swedish parliament passed a law to introduce tuition and application fees for students not from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland starting from the following academic year, which has already taken effect. This fee however is supplemented by scholarship programs in Sweden

Finland

In Finland, while some universities charge tuition fees for international students, others are tuition free. For instance, at the moment there is no tuition fees for foreign and domestic students at the University of Eastern Finland, but the students must be able to cover all his/her own living costs in Finland (minimum of 500 Euros per month for a single student). At Aalto University, most programmes will charge a tuition fee of 8000 EUR/academic year from non-EU/EEA-citizens (international students). However, the University offers the Aalto University scholarships for non-EU/EEA-citizens to study in the University.

Denmark

Currently, tuition is free for undergraduate, MSc and MA studies for EU/EEA students as well as for students participating in an exchange program in Universities in Denmark. However, this is not the case for international students or students from developing countries. As far back as 2006, a tuition fee system was introduced for international full degree students outside the EU-European Union- and EEA-European Economic Area- countries.

Scholarships and tuition fee waivers for international students, however, are available from Institutions and government (the Danish Ministry of Education scholarship fund) for master’s degrees.

Germany

In the past, Germany didn’t generally charge tuition fees. But this has changed. Some federal states are charging fees, others are about to abolish them. You’ll have to contact the University of your Choice to find out whether it charges tuition fees. Initially, fees were introduced for long-term students, visiting students (i.e. from other universities) and for participants of postgraduate and Master’s programmes. Now, however, some federal states also charge tuition fees of around 500 Euros per semester for first degree (undergraduate) courses, such as Bachelor’s, Diploma, or Magister programmes. Most Master’s programmes charge tuition fees. Tuition can amount to between 650 and several thousand Euros per semester.

Norway

Foreign students are admitted to universities and other institutions of higher education in Norway mainly through international programs and bilateral agreements with comparable institutions abroad.

As at the time of writing this, No tuition fees are charged at any of the Norwegian universities, except special programs and private and specialized schools. At all public institutions in Norway, higher education is free for international students as well as for Norwegian nationals.

This means that, at present, Norway will be the only country in Scandinavia where higher education is still free for all (well in Finland, there is a mix of free universities and paid ones).

While some parties believe that education will continue to remain free in Norway, there is still uncertainty as to what could happen in the near future.